Published in October 2022.

Wrestling, as we know it, is dead.

Jerry Watkins, the overlord of the wrestling industry, has gone to prison and the UWE, his global conglomerate, is no more.

Covid-19, the subsequent economic crisis and a lack of interest spanning decades are just some of the reasons why many other fledgling promotions have closed their doors.

There are fewer organizations than ever for aspiring grapplers to hone their craft.

However, as JFK once said:  Where there’s crisis, there’s opportunity.

Wrestling companies are now circling to snap up UWE’s talent to bolster their own roster, and the company’s top star, ‘Champagne’ Shane Watkins, Jerry’s son, is also MIA.

Rumors are rife that GLOBAL studios, a household name in Hollywood and beyond, is planning to expand its empire by setting up a promotion in Los Angeles.

The king is dead…

Long live wrestling?

The writer hits the publish button, sits back and slouches in his seat, stunned at what he has just written and pensively ponders what is next for the wacky world of wrestling.

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Cedars Sinai Medical Center

Los Angeles, California

March 10, 2024 9.06AM

“Do any of you assholes intend to do anything about this?”

The tall, muscular blonde woman paces back and forth in the hospital corridor, barking sharply into the phone currently glued to her ear.

“What do you mean, ‘about what‘?! These psychos do a fuckin’ hit on a bunch of unsuspecting kids, at fuckin’ dinnertime, right outside a fuckin’ hospital…no, don’t fuckin’ tell me to calm down! Three of my students…no, LISTEN TO ME, asshat!…Three of my fuckin’ students are laid up in a hospital bed right now, right in front of me, because these fuckin’ people bashed their fuckin’ skulls in so hard they needed intensive care. And you’re telling me you sons of bitches aren’t going to do a damn thing about it?!”

The blonde lifts her glaring gaze from the black and white tiles of the hospital floor as a harried, alarmed-looking nurse approaches, gesturing pleadingly for her to mind her tone and keep her voice down. The woman’s only response, however, is to scorch the hapless employee with a glower, raising a middle finger for good measure as she turns away from her and continues her verbal attack over the phone line. Not wishing to engage in confrontation, the nurse rolls her eyes as she turns away herself, entering the room directly behind the livid blonde to check on the variously injured young people laid up on the half-dozen beds within.

“Sorry ’bout our Coach.” The redheaded young woman on the bed directly opposite the door offers the nurse a winning smile. “She gets real heated sometimes, and then the cuss-bombs start flying. My Dad’s the same. He’s on the warpath, too. He’s just not as…loud about it. Also, not in here all the time.” She jerks her thumb towards the brunette on the next bed. “And her parents are too gosh-darn polite to go off on somebody like that…especially a police officer. If our friend Angel was here, though…” The girl puffs out her cheeks and rolls her eyes, leaving her meaning implicit.

“Don’t get me wrong, I sympathize with her.” The nurse glances briefly at the girl’s vitals before moving on to the next bed. “But she’s bothering some of the other patients…”

“She’s just trying to get the cops to do something…” The short brunette rolls her eyes. “Personally, I don’t think she’s going to get anywhere. I mean, the leader of those guys who attacked us used to be LAPD herself…I don’t think they’re gonna be in a hurry to arrest her…that’s just me, though…”

“No, I totally hear you, Iz.” The redhead extends her left arm for a fist-bump. “You know Coach, though…she’s gonna keep on raising hell until there’s no more hell left to raise.”

This last observation draws a chuckle from the most severely injured patient in the room – the young blonde with the broken neck who, until roughly thirty-six hours before, was its sole denizen. This, in turn, draws looks of concern from every single one of her roommates – including the three long-hairs who, it transpires, are her siblings – which only subside when the blonde raises her hand to indicate she’s fine.

“They’re right, you know, honey…” The nurse stops by the girl’s bed to check her own vitals, as well as fluff her pillow. “You shouldn’t strain your vocal chords, or anything like that. Just focus on healing that neck of yours, hmm?”

The blonde smiles briefly, just as her taller, older and even more intense doppelganger enters the room herself, angrily throwing her cellphone down onto her jacket, resting on a chair nearby.

“I fuckin’ hate fuckin’ cops. Fuckin’ bunch of useless fuckin’ pigs!” 

“Jacqui…” The oldest patient in the ward, a thirty-something male with fair hair, sad eyes and – in the nurse’s opinion – an agreeable manner, catches the indomitable blonde’s eye for a moment, before flicking his gaze towards the medical professional. The woman starts briefly, as if only just noticing her presence, before attempting what is no doubt meant as a smile, but comes out closer to a grimace.

“Sorry ’bout that just now.” She jerks a thumb to indicate the corridor outside the room. “I just get heated up, y’know? My entire training class gets laid out, and all of their friends and relatives, and these fu—” Much to the nurse’s astonishment, the blonde actually appears to catch and redact herself. “—these morons tell me they can’t do anything ’cause there’s no concrete evidence. Can you fu—can you believe that?!”

“That’s LAPD for you…” The nurse shrugs, her smile indicating all is forgiven between her and the blonde. “You keep fighting the good fight, though, sis. These kids are worth it. They seem like a great bunch.”

“Hell yeah they are.” The blonde nods, her body language once again becoming tense and intense. “And hell yeah I will. I didn’t fly halfway across the world for fourteen fuckin’ hours — sorry — just to stand around and have some pencil-pushing pig in blue tell me they’re just gonna let some assholes beat down on some kids — my kids — and not even fuckin’ investigate it! …Sorry!”

Seeing the woman’s effort to at least apologise for her language, the nurse finally relents, grinning. “Hey…I hear you, honey. I was telling this girl here…it’s the cussing I don’t like. Other than that, you’re fine by me. If it was my kids involved in something like this, I know I’d be wanting somebody’s head on a platter…” She nods towards the two blond boys lying either side of the girl with the broken neck. “It’s these three that are yours, right? They look just like Mom!”

“WHAT?!” Caught completely by surprise, both Jacqui and the three young people in question splutter in horror – much to the amusement of their other room-mates – before the older woman seeks to put the situation to rights.. “Nonono…NONE of these are mine! I’m just their wrestling coach. That’s all! Capeesh, cupcake?

“Oh, boy…” The nurse has the decency to blush. “I’m sorry, honey. For what it’s worth, you didn’t look old enough to have grown kids…I was thinking you must have been very young…”

“Don’t worry about it.” Jacqui waves the medical professional off with a wave of a hand. “It happens. And sorry I was an ass to you back there. I got next to no sleep last night.”

It is the nurse’s turn to wave off the blonde’s apology, as her young patients exchange meaningful glances and try to keep from giggling again. Before either woman can say anything further, however, Jacqui’s phone rings, driving the blonde to stride back outside the room and onto the hallway; a moment later, her irate tones are once again echoing off the high ceiling of the corridor, causing the nurse to wince, and the young redhead on the first bed to grin again.

“You’re probably gonna hear that a lot from now on, miss…for better or worse, looks like Coach Monroe is here to stay…”

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“Yes, I know, darling. Not to worry, though…I am well aware of the situation, and I will be actively addressing it over the next few weeks.”

Kerry Buckingham shifts her mobile phone from her left ear to her right as she continues to assuage the faintly audible voice at the other end of the line.

“Yes, I KNOW, darling. I HAVE been taking that into consideration. You DO trust me to handle this, yes?” The blonde pauses momentarily as her interloper replies, then breaks into a broad, winning smile. “FABulous! I KNEW you would, darling. Now, if there is nothing else, I’m afraid you will have to excuse me. The boys and I are due out any moment.” The Brit motions to the man sitting at the audio table next to the entrance curtain as she makes her final goodbyes to the person on the phone. “Not to worry, darling. Yes…ta-ta for now. Bye-bye-bye.”

The blonde exhales dramatically, turning to roll her eyes at the two men stood directly behind her. “Mummy Stella is a tad bit agitated, I’m afraid, darlings. We will have to redouble our efforts from now until the Pay-per-View, if we are to assuage her fears.” Buckingham’s cringing expression suddenly switches to a smile, with almost dizzying rapidity. “Good thing we have big plans for this evening, is it not?”

“Yes…about that.” The lankier of the two men, a thirtysomething with long brown hair in a ponytail, leans forward for a discreet word with the blonde. “Are you quite sure this is advisable at this stage, Kerry?”

Buckingham responds simply with a high peal of laughter. “Nigey…darling…WHEN has Auntie Kerry EVER led you astray thus far?” Then, not even giving the man time to reply, she answers her own question. “Never! Even when I made decisions you boys did not agree with, they turned out for the best, did they not?”

The man named Nigel is hard-pressed to dispute this, causing a smug nod from the blonde. “Now…you will just have to trust me a TEENSY bit longer. That is not so hard to do, is it?”

Nigel replies negatively, but Buckingham is no longer listening, her attention instead focused on the other half of the pair, who appears rather distracted.

“What do YOU think, Rupie? It is not THAT hard to trust your friend Kerry another week or so, is it?”

“Mmmh…” The muscular blond man utters a noncommittal and clearly inattentive mutter as he continues to leer suspiciously at the shadows somewhere to his right, drawing an irritable foot-stamp from Kerry.

“DAR-ling! Are you even LISTENING?”

“Mmmwhat?” The man named Rupert finally appears to come back around to the situation at hand. “Oh…sorry. I…thought I’d seen something over there…or someone.” He points towards the shadowy hallway a few feet away, but his manager does not appear interested, instead rolling her eyes.

“Quite. Now…do we all know what we are doing once we are out there in front of people?”

The two men nod briskly, finally drawing a smile from the blonde.

“FABulous. Follow Auntie Kerry, then. Let’s start bringing these metrics up to par.”

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Backstage, The Informer stands ready, excitement palpable in his voice, as he prepares to interview the Global Champion, “The Legend” Sean Darring. Dressed sharply in a black suit, Darring, suitcase in tow, appears fresh from his journey, poised in front of the championship committee’s office.

“It’s always a pleasure, Mr. Darring. Rumor has it, you’ve got something monumental to announce. We’re all ears!”

Grasping the microphone, Darring faces the camera directly, his gaze intense. “Lately, a few opportunists have been taking liberties at my expense, aiming to bolster their own reputations. It’s understandable. They’re young, ambitious, and talented, and they seek to elevate themselves by challenging the top name in the business. At Last Domination, they claimed a victory, but let’s be honest—it’s hardly one to boast about. Tonight, I’m offering Jimmy Classic the opportunity he’s been craving.”

The Informer, taken aback by the direct challenge, eagerly anticipates Darring’s next words.

“This evening, I’ll defend the Global Championship in the ring. You’ve wanted the spotlight, Jimmy? ‘Prime Time’? The ‘Main Event’? It’s yours. Tonight, we settle this, once and for all. And Trae Larkin? Bring him along. It’ll take everything you’ve got to take this title from me.”

Reclaiming the microphone, The Informer can barely contain his excitement. “A Global Championship match tonight against Jimmy Classic! What a bombshell, Mr. Darring. And how do you respond to claims that the Prime Time Athletes have bested you twice?”

Darring, unphased, responds, “Perfection is elusive in this sport. The variables are many, and while I’ve had the honor of holding this title and facing formidable opponents in Global, the Prime Time Athletes have capitalized on the chaos of tag team battles. But let’s be clear—when it’s one-on-one, in my domain, for my title, we transition from ‘Prime Time’ to ‘Legendary’ at lightning speed.”

As Sean Darring exudes confidence, ready to conclude the interview, an unexpected voice interrupts, “Well, well, well…” The Informer steps aside, allowing the camera to capture the unfolding drama. Entering the scene with a swagger, The Prime Time Athletes, Jimmy Classic and Trae Larkin, confront Darring, bringing an air of confrontation to the backstage area.

Jimmy Classic, undeterred, challenges the champion’s narrative. “Seems our champion enjoys crafting his own tales. Let’s not forget, the world has seen us outmaneuver you, not once, but twice. Unmistakable proof that challenges your reign, and that’s a reality you’ll have to shoulder, champ.”

A smirk plays on Darring’s lips as Classic doubles down. “It must sting, realizing the spotlight’s shifting away from you. For so long, you’ve been the pinnacle, the ‘Legendary Sean Darring’ everyone revered. But the landscape of Global Wrestling is evolving, and it’s our time now. The era of Prime Time is upon us, and it’s only a matter of time before we carry not just the Global Championship but the Tag Team Titles too.”

Leaning in, Darring’s voice is calm, yet filled with challenge. “So, are you accepting my challenge for tonight?”

A charged silence envelops the room, the tension palpable as everyone awaits Classic’s response to Darring’s daring proposition.
Trae Larkin edges closer, but Jimmy Classic, with a strategic gesture, halts his partner’s advance. He then theatrically rotates his right arm, feigning discomfort, a pained expression adorning his face.

“Believe me, nothing would delight me more than to notch up a third victory over you. Yet, engaging in a match under my current condition, nursing this shoulder injury, would be sheer ignorance on my part.”

Darring can’t help but exhibit skepticism, rolling his eyes as Classic spins his narrative. “Following our victory at the last Domination, we pushed ourselves harder than ever in training, determined to solidify our triumph. Unfortunately, my shoulder bore the brunt of our intensified regimen. But fret not, champ. I sense your eagerness for redemption. Come next Domination, I’ll have recovered sufficiently — 85% is all I require to relieve you of that title.”

The Informer turns expectantly towards Sean Darring, awaiting the champion’s reaction to Jimmy Classic’s postponement. Darring, clearly unimpressed, retorts sharply.

“Your theatrics impress no one. If you’re looking for a way out, so be it. I’m prepared to take you down tonight, at the next Domination, or whenever you dare step into the ring. Go ahead, tend to that ‘injury’ of yours. I want no excuses when the time comes to silence you once and for all.”

Trae Larkin is visibly itching for a confrontation, but Jimmy Classic, with a chuckle, places a reassuring hand on his partner’s shoulder.

“Sean, you’re quite the character, which is precisely why you’re a favorite of ours. Accepting your invitation to headline next week’s Main Event, claiming the Global Championship, and steering Global towards a Prime Time era would be my pleasure. Just ensure that the championship is polished and ready for its rightful owners.”

As the Prime Time Athletes make their exit, Jimmy Classic theatrically rotates his shoulder, exaggerating his ‘injury’ for all to see. The Informer, seeking a final word, turns back to Sean Darring.

With a hint of frustration laced with resolve, Darring concludes, “Seems we’ll have to postpone the silence. Quite the disappointment.”

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6 weeks before The Last Laugh.

Ray Young and Adam Hatt are sharing a laugh in the canteen, having concluded a movie.

Young turns to Hatt. “Hey, Adam, you ever see a move like that back in your Hollywood days?”

“Not quite like that! But I’ve seen my fair share of drama, just like what unfolds in that ring.”

Young nods knowingly. “You know, Adam, wrestling isn’t just about the fights. It’s about the stories we tell, the characters we become.”

Hatt clicks his fingers. “Ah, storytelling, the backbone of entertainment. Reminds me of the golden age of Hollywood, when every script was a masterpiece waiting to be told.”

As they reminisce, their laughter echoes through the corridor, drawing curious glances from passersby.

Suddenly, the conversation shifts, Ray subtly steers it towards business, eager to discuss a proposition with his friend.

“Say, Adam, have you heard about this rising star, Jerry David? I’ve got a feeling he’s destined for greatness.”

Raising an eyebrow, Hatt sounds intrigued. “Jerry David, you say? Sounds intriguing. What’s makes you say that, Ray?”

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As the previous segment concludes, the focus shifts back to ringside, where the Health Fanatics have already made their presence felt. The anticipation in the air thickens as Greg Matthews, a formidable force in the ring, stands ready, his gaze fixed on the entrance, awaiting his adversary. ‘Downtown’ Jason Brown, the ring announcer, steps forward to heighten the anticipation.

“Introducing his opponent… Accompanied to the ring by El Principe… Masked Maniac!”

In an unexpected twist, the strains of “Los Consejos De Un Padre” by Gerrardo Reyes fill the arena, signaling El Principe’s entrance rather than the Masked Maniac’s typical theme. The enigmatic El Principe emerges first, a commanding presence. With a dramatic turn, he gestures for his protege to join him. Hesitant and visibly less assured than usual, the Masked Maniac steps into the spotlight. His iconic black mask and attire serve as his armor, yet tonight, they seem to weigh heavily.

El Principe takes the lead, urging the Global Wrestling fans to rally behind his protege. Together, they proceed down the aisle, the solemn yet powerful “Los Consejos De Un Padre” accompanying their march to the ring, marking the beginning of what promises to be an unforgettable match.

Lucas Quinn remarks, “Since his return to Global, Masked Maniac hasn’t quite been his usual self. Now, under the mentorship of one of the most renowned luchadors in wrestling history, it’ll be fascinating to see if he can rediscover his former zest.”

The Mark adds, “Losing your edge, as Masked Maniac has after Global’s HR department stepped in, really shakes a wrestler’s foundation. Regaining that lost confidence is no small feat.”

Allie observes, “It’s noticeable that Masked Maniac is avoiding eye contact, not just with his opponents, but particularly with individuals of the opposite sex. It speaks volumes about his current state of mind.”

El Principe guides his protege to the ring, where they meet Damon Somner and Greg Matthews of the Health Fanatics already waiting. Referee Duncan Sullivan steps forward to explain the match’s guidelines.

Lucas Quinn clarifies, “This match features a solo showdown, with Damon Somner ringside in a support role for his teammate, while El Principe accompanies his protege for a closer observation.”

The Mark reflects, “Maniac’s comeback match against Alf Alferson didn’t exactly pan out as hoped. Here’s to wishing for a more favorable turn of events for Maniac tonight.”

El Principe imparts some last-minute wisdom to his student, his words captured only partially by the camera. Without a grasp of Spanish, the advice remains a mystery to the viewers. On the other side, the Health Fanatics share a high five for encouragement, with Damon Somner taking his place outside the ring to cheer on his teammate.


The bell rings, signaling the start of the match, but instantly, Masked Maniac rolls out of the ring, putting distance between himself and his opponent.

Lucas Quinn observes, “And there’s the bell. Immediately, Masked Maniac takes to the outside.”

The Mark adds insight, “It seems he’s hesitant to engage with Greg Matthews. El Principe is right there, though, trying to coax him back into the ring, urging him to regain his focus.”

Allie offers a compassionate take, “It’s tough to watch. Losing your confidence can be a steep hill to climb back up, especially against an opponent like Greg Matthews, who’s no lightweight.”

Greg Matthews shows sportsmanship by stepping back, allowing the hesitant Masked Maniac to re-enter the ring under El Principe’s vociferous guidance. With cautious steps, Masked Maniac starts to maneuver around the imposing figure of Greg Matthews, assessing his opponent with each orbit.

Lucas Quinn announces, “We’re witnessing the first clinch of the match! Greg Matthews seems to be handling Masked Maniac with surprising ease.”

The Mark observes, “It’s no secret, Greg Matthews’ physical condition is unmatched. Few can parallel his athleticism in this sport.”

As they grapple, Matthews skillfully maneuvers Masked Maniac towards the corner. The referee, Duncan Sullivan, steps in, demanding a clean break as Masked Maniac seeks refuge in the ropes. At this moment, El Principe escalates the situation, climbing onto the apron to hurl taunts at Matthews.

Allie muses, “I’m not sure if Greg Matthews is fluent in Spanish, but the message from El Principe seems crystal clear as he gestures for him to step into the fray.”

With the referee intervening to prevent El Principe from entering the match, Matthews finds himself distracted. This lapse gives Masked Maniac the opening he needs, and he launches a relentless assault on Matthews, leveraging the momentary diversion to his advantage with a series of strikes and kicks.

Lucas Quinn exclaims, “Masked Maniac seizes the moment, unleashing a barrage of punches on a distracted Greg Matthews. It’s clear he’s channeling all his frustration into each strike.”

The Mark chuckles, adding, “Definitely a case of pent-up frustration being let loose.”

Masked Maniac seizes the opportunity, forcefully pulling Greg Matthews’s head down into the corner turnbuckle. He then uses the ropes for momentum, launching into a dynamic bulldog. In a move tinged with urgency, Maniac immediately goes for the pin, grasping Matthews’s leg in a desperate attempt for a quick victory.



Lucas Quinn observes, “Maniac was aiming for a swift win, trying to capitalize on that moment of distraction, but Matthews powers out at two.”

The Mark notes, “The urgency is palpable in Maniac’s approach, a stark contrast to his typically assured demeanor.”

Allie points out, “And there’s Damon Somner, right by the referee’s side, cautioning him to keep an eye on El Principe’s antics.”

Masked Maniac swiftly secures Greg Matthews in a tight headlock, applying pressure with his forearm against the side of the Health Fanatic’s head. Amidst the struggle, El Principe’s voice pierces through, offering relentless guidance to his protege. Following these directives, Masked Maniac maneuvers Matthews towards the middle ropes and starts to use the ropes to choke him, an action promptly addressed by referee Duncan Sullivan, who demands a halt to the illicit tactic.

Lucas Quinn remarks, “We’re witnessing a stark departure from Masked Maniac’s usual wrestling persona. Renowned for his entertaining flair and adherence to the rules, it’s evident he’s now adopting a more aggressive approach under El Principe’s tutelage.”

Masked Maniac charges towards the ropes, propelling himself onto Greg Matthews’s exposed back before swiftly attempting another pin, his actions tinged with urgency.



Lucas Quinn observes, “And once more, Greg Matthews fights his way out. Masked Maniac is desperate for that decisive third count, eager to claim victory and retreat, but Matthews showcases the resilience of a true prime-time athlete.”

The Mark acknowledges the play with words, “Nice one, Lucas.”

Allie chuckles in agreement, “Not bad at all.”

Masked Maniac, driven by urgency under El Principe’s watchful eye, launches a forceful fist into Greg Matthews’s forehead. Regaining his momentum, he delivers a staggering uppercut, sending Matthews reeling. With swift movement, he springs off the ropes, aiming for a crossbody, only to be caught mid-flight by Matthews.

Lucas Quinn exclaims, “Oh, no, this isn’t looking good for Masked Maniac. You can see the panic in his eyes.”


Matthews executes a massive powerslam, much to the delight of the audience. Shaking off Masked Maniac’s earlier tactics and the attempted shortcuts, Matthews effortlessly lifts his opponent, setting him up for a monumental vertical suplex. With a moment of suspense, he locks eyes with El Principe, then decisively completes the move, driving Masked Maniac back to the mat with a thunderous impact.

Lucas Quinn notes, “El Principe is visibly upset, taking his grievances to the referee, while Greg Matthews confronts him directly.”

The Mark, intrigued, asks, “Does Greg Matthews actually speak Spanish?”

In the ring, Masked Maniac struggles to rise, the distraction allowing Damon Somner to signal to Matthews. Swiftly, Matthews aids his partner to his feet, showcasing his strength by bench-pressing the luchador high into the air before executing a commanding military slam.


Allie observes, “Matthews is handling Maniac with remarkable ease.”

Fueled by the momentum, Matthews unleashes a primal roar, signaling the end is near. He hoists Masked Maniac onto his shoulders, then decisively slams him face-first into the mat with a force that resonates throughout the arena.


Lucas Quinn, in awe of Matthews’s display of power, exclaims, “Matthews is dominating the ring, tossing Maniac around effortlessly,” as Matthews secures the pin.





Disbelief etches El Principe’s face as he solemnly bows his head at ringside, witnessing the conclusion of the bout. Inside the ring, Greg Matthews jumps in victory, his arm triumphantly hoisted by Damon Somner, as the announcer proclaims him the victor.

“The winner of the match… Greg Matthews!!!”

The Mark reflects on the outcome, “A hard-fought battle for Masked Maniac, but it’s clear now, he’s lost his spark.”

Allie ponders the future, “Can El Principe reignite that flame within him?”

Lucas Quinn observes the unfolding scene, “Right now, El Principe’s disappointment is palpable. As the Health Fanatics bask in their victory, Masked Maniac finds solace outside the ring, abandoned by El Principe who walks away in frustration.”

The Mark adds, “El Principe’s legacy is unparalleled. A luchador of his caliber doesn’t linger on setbacks.”

Allie empathizes, “Such a tough moment for Masked Maniac.”

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I'M JUST - 1

Sitting at the bar is an unusual-looking man, at least in most parts of this world.  This, however, is San Francisco, and being here for just a few weeks, the stranger has felt at home. Possessing a strong, angular jawline that accentuates his facial structure, giving him a distinguished and handsome appearance, his high cheekbones add a touch of refinement to his features, while his smooth, unblemished skin reflects a life of discipline and care. His lips are firm yet expressive, often curved into a subtle smile that hints at his underlying confidence and what about his hair? Meticulously styled to perfection and jet black in color, his hair falls in sleek strands that frame his face with effortless elegance. It is clear he keeps his hair neatly trimmed, and skin is a warm, olive tone, radiating a healthy glow that complements his overall appearance. It carries a hint of sun-kissed bronze, a testament to his active lifestyle and time spent outdoors. His complexion is flawless, with a natural sheen.

The stranger’s sense of style is refined and tasteful, reflecting his understated elegance and attention to detail. He often opts for tailored attire that accentuates his physique while maintaining a sense of sophistication. Kitted out in a well-fitted white dress shirt paired with charcoal grey trousers and a pendant necklace and a pair of stud earrings, when some loud-mouthed drunken sipper blurts out.

“Hey, look at this guy! He’s like a real-life Ken doll!”

He and his friend, both average height and wearing hipster jeans, are pointing their fingers towards the tourist.

“Yeah, but where’s Barbie? Did she dump you for a real man?”

That produces wild cackles, least of all from themselves, but some other amused bystanders on this rush-hour Monday afternoon.

Sipping his drink calmly as the group of rowdy patrons nearby begin hurling insults, their voices growing louder with each taunt, the Asian gentleman remains composed, his eyes focused ahead, but the tension in his posture is palpable as he tries to ignore the escalating situation.

A nearby regular stands up and swipes at this outsider’s glass, almost knocking it over. “What’s the matter, dollface? Cat got your tongue?”

Despite the growing hostility, the visitor maintains his silence, his jaw clenched tightly as he tries to keep his cool amidst the barrage of insults.

The trio, emboldened by the lack of response, inch closer, their jeers growing more aggressive by the second.

A fourth chips in. “Come on, plastic boy! You think you’re tough? I bet you can’t even throw a punch!”

The Asian’s hands tighten around his glass, his knuckles turning white as he struggles to contain his rising anger.

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Rutherford guys theme hit, and the tag team champions walk out as usual, flanked by Richard Rutherford. There is a massive change in their attitude, as Rutherford’s usual happiness is missing. They all enter the ring and look out over the crowd before Rutherford raises the microphone. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we are not so happy.”

Rutherford takes a breath before continuing. 

“Now, there are several issues here, but let’s start with this week. Mr. Sinclair and Mr. Dream are your tag team champions, and you show us the disrespect by not even granting them a match? Not even a little one on one match? Five minutes of five seconds, at least they should get one. But don’t worry…..if you don’t book my clients next week….enjoy the consequences.”

Rutherford takes a deep breath before continuing. 

“Now let’s go to last week. My clients demanded a tag team match, and they got one. However, the officials in this company are doing a horrible job. Border Control cheating every chance they get and they can’t even get the victory. The match ended in a no contest, and we actually don’t mind that too much. But the fact that the match went so out of control proves that the people running this place have zero control. Now there are a few moments during the match I will take as a teaching moment for the future and make sure we try to correct our errors. Obviously I am not going to stand here and tell the world our strategies, but there is moments I see…changes are needed. Every opponent is different, and we need to be flexible with how we do things. But as I stated earlier, this match was out of control. There is however something different about Border Control.”

Nikolai whispers something to Rutherford who nods. 

“Mr. Sinclair states, and I quote: In my career, it is far between times I go up against someone who push me to my limits.  Now aside from the cheating and the chaos, you tested me during that match. I had to stay alert at times, and making you my next victim will not be as easy as I expected. However Daniel and myself have done this for years. We have gone up against quite a few that can match us and even fewer that can beat us. We have gone up against people who have earned my respect and people who have tried to chat their way into getting our titles. And we still held them for over a year. So when I say you will not make it easy, that does not mean we won’t beat you. Tag team matches are a team match, and trust me we have done this with more success than anyone. It is a reason we are the world’s best tag team.” 

Rutherford hands the mic to Daniel. 

Daniel raises the microphone to his lips, “Listen up, everyone. Nikolai and I are brothers, united by success, our gold. But Border Control mistook me for the weak link, and that OFFENDS me. Don’t you dare mistake me for the weak link. I’m still the golden boy of GLOBAL, and I won’t let anyone forget that.”

“Just like Rutherford said, the people running this place have zero control. Sure, Rutherford might not have power, but let me tell you, I’ve talked to the real man behind the curtain. And I trust him to keep his golden boy happy.”

“So when it comes to the GLOBAL Tag Team Championships, rest assured, I’ll have everything under control.” 

“Let’s talk about our opponents for the GLOBAL Tag Team Championships. John J. Truth, you’re nothing but a heartless, deplorable bigot. And Agent Lincoln, you’re not too smart for teaming up with someone like Truth.”

“As for Agent Washington, you’re a coward, resorting to dirty tactics like raking my eyes with your boot and hitting a low blow to my balls. But let me make one thing clear – being seen as the weak link? That’s unacceptable to me. You only lit my fire.”

“In GLOBAL, we already have our Wicked Witch, but Truth, your Grand Wizard ain’t the great and powerful Oz. By the end of the night, I’ll still be walking the yellow brick road, holding the gold.”

“And as for Border Control, after we’re done with you. You’ll still be missing a heart, a brain, and balls.”  

Daniel hands Rutherford the mic. Rutherford nods before raising it.

 “Now I don’t run this company nor have I been here long enough to have any kind of power, but the chaos you guys bring into a match. The cheating, the outside interference. Keep on doing it, because at the end of it all The Rutherford Guys will still be your Tag Team Champions.”

Their theme hits as Nikolai and Daniel Both raise their championships. 

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5 weeks before The Last Laugh

Despite the underlying business talk, Ray and Adam’s camaraderie remains unshaken as they continue to share light-hearted moments.

“I took a leap off the top rope and landed flat on my back, my ass up and when I turned over, the crowd got more than an eyeful of the front too!”

 Hatt smacks the desk, howling with laughter. “Oh, I bet that was a sight to behold.  Well, for the women of the world, at least. But hey, you always bounce back, just like a true entertainer.”

Ray Young toasts Adam’s drink.  “Thanks for the laughs and the stories, Adam. Here’s to many more adventures together.”

“Likewise, Ray. And who knows, maybe this Jerry David fellow will be the next big thing.”

Do I reel him in here or not?

“He does, doesn’t he?  BARTENDER…let’s get some more drinks down here.  Adam, what shall we toast to?  Long-lost friends, memorable tales, many more years on God’s green earth…or to a new GLOBAL Champion who can do what Daniel Dream couldn’t do?  To JERRY DAVID!”


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Jerry David asks for – and gets – a microphone, ungratefully snatching it from “Downtown” Jason Brown, who has just introduced David to the audience. 

“A mixed reception for Jerry David, we’ll see how he reacts to that,” Quinn observes.

“Watch what I’m about to do Gemini.   This is what you’re supposed to do to someone like Gemini.  Anyone worth their salt should do what I’m about to do to Gemini, and it’s what I’m about to prove to you.  Reyn, why didn’t you do that to Gemini, even on your worst day?  No excuse is good enough, and it’s why you should be scared of me.”

David face washes himself, and ruffles his hair, psyching himself up, “It’s why you are scared of me.  Come out here and face me if you’ve got the guts.  We both know you haven’t.”

Laughter. Familiar laughter from the speakers. The static across the tron revealing the silhouette of Reyn. The bandages could still be seen, but there was more animation to his movements. Less strain in his actions.  Jerry David clenches his fist, and bits his lip, doing his best not to react to the laughter, something that Allie notices.

“It seems it’s okay if you’re laughing WITH Jerry David, but not AT him.”

“Now I see why you were a comedian, Jerry! You, of ALL people, want to talk about how afraid OTHERS are?”

There was another laugh, low and dripping with mockery.

“I’ll entertain this farce. Let us talk about fear. Fear comes in many forms, there’s fear of the external, but then… there’s the internal fear. The insecurities. A few months ago, I praised your resilience against Ezra. What changed? What happened to the man who could so easily shrug off that clown’s taunts, to turn him into the insecure fool desperate for recognition? Was it knowing that even when you won your battle with Ezra, the vermin who’s opinion you hung your every word on still valued him over you?”

Jerry’s hand grips the microphone tightly.

“Oh yes. I heard what they said, Jerry. That Ezra was the more compelling fighter. That Ezra should have faced Sean instead of you.”

The grip tightens.

“Even your employers agreed. After all, it was Ezra who was offered a place in that tournament. Not you.”

Jerry looks like he wants to snap the microphone in half.

“Is that the source of your fear, Jerry? Fear of being forgotten? Fear of being overlooked? Dismissed? Ignored? Is that why you change? Or… Did you never change at all? Perhaps, all that resilience, all that bravado… all that strength… Perhaps it was all just a mask to hide how scared you’ve ALWAYS been? Did you fight so fiercely against Ezra to defend your honour? Or were you scared, deep down, that his taunts held a grain of truth? Did you become a wrestler out of passion for the sport? Or because you were scared that your old career as a clown was at a dead end?”

You can practically hear the smile in Reyn’s voice.

“Who shows more fear, than the man who lost to Darring, than calls upon The East Wind Itself, just so he won’t be forgotten?”

The tron shut offs. Leaving Jerry standing alone in the ring, microphone in hand.

“…bring Gemini out here. Now.”

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As requested. Gemini enters the ring with… well, surprising confidence, given his record.

“It’s almost admirable, in away.” The Mark says.

David certainly doesn’t think so.

Ding! Ding! Ding!!


David doesn’t let up! Grabbing both of Gemini’s wrists, he begins to stomp down on the man’s face over and over again! Rounding it off with a sharp kick to the ribs!

As the fans boo the unneeded violence, David turns his attention to the hard cam. Pointing at Gemini as he yells.


School Boy by Gemini! David is caught of guard! He rolls to his feet- GEMINI’S THUNDER (Double Axehandle)!!!

“HOLY-!!” That’s The Mark


The fans have stood up now!



Jerry practically THROWS Gemini off him! Practically scrambling into the corner! His face white, his eyes wide and he’s hyperventilating.

Jerry David’s hands go to his mouth. He’s staring wide-eyed at Gemini in disbelief, visibly shaking.

Gemini is coming in, looking for another attempt at seemingly his only move.

…And something in Jerry’s demeanour shifts.


“Jerry’s stopped playing around.” Quinn says.

A Snap suplex with VIOLENT authority!  Followed by a second! He gets Gemini up one final time!


The cover is snug and tight. (Readers. I remind you that you are adults.)



“Here is your winner! Jerry David!”

“Jerry with the win tonight, but he does NOT look happy.” Quinn says.

“I’m hardly surprised.” Allie says “He came out here looking to prove himself Reyn’s better, and almost suffered the exact same embarrassment. Much as he doesn’t want to admit it, Alex’s words are getting to him.”

“We’ve seen what Reyn can do when he’s in someone’s head. Jerry’s playing a dangerous game here.”

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The scene unfolds in the dimly lit locker room of the wrestling arena, with El Principe standing tall, adorned in his signature blue and gold mask and attire. His protege, Masked Maniac, stands before him, head bowed in shame.

“¿Qué has hecho? Perdiste contra el poderoso Greg Matthews.”

El Principe’s voice resonates with authority and disappointment as he addresses Masked Maniac in rapid-fire Spanish, his words laden with frustration.

By contrast, Maniac’s apology is low in volume, reflecting his current level confidence in the process.

“I’m sorry, Principe. Everything I try…I’ve lost my way with women, which I never thought I’d say, and my way in the ring it seems too, maestro.”

El Principe’s temper flares as he listens to Masked Maniac’s apology, his eyes blazing with fury behind his mask.]

“¡Lo siento no es suficiente! ¡Has avergonzado nuestra tradición, nuestra herencia!”

His words are laced with scorn as he berates Masked Maniac for his failure to uphold their legacy in the ring.

“Please give me another chance,” Masked Maniac protests.

Masked Maniac’s plea falls on deaf ears as El Principe’s rage intensifies, his disappointment palpable. With a steely gaze, El Principe delivers a stern warning to his protege, his voice dripping with disdain.

El Principe: “Escucha bien, Máscara Maniaco. Si no puedes ganar, entonces no mereces llevar nuestra máscara.”

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The scene opens in Tobias Bellamy’s modest yet cozy living room, illuminated by the soft glow of lamplight filtering through the curtains. Tobias sits perched on the edge of an old leather armchair, his leg-brace visible as he fidgets nervously with the brim of his hat. Across from him, Alfie Button lounges on a worn-out sofa, his cockney charm evident in the twinkle of mischief in his eyes.

 “Alright, Alfie, it’s time you heard this.”

Alfie raises his arms.

“Ready when you are, mate.”

With a determined expression, Tobias reaches for a small digital recorder resting on the coffee table beside him. His fingers hover over the play button for a moment before pressing it with a decisive click.

“This recording might just change everything.”

As the recording begins to play, the room fills with the sound of voices, crackling slightly with static. Tobias leans forward, his gaze fixed on Alfie.

“How did you-?”

“There is a DIFFERENCE between random violence and true anarchy, brother. The first is quickly quelled and forgotten about by society. The second can bring civilization to its knees. A difference YOU seem to have forgotten Alex!”

Button exclaims.


Tobias tells him to zip it, and listen.

“I find myself… incredibly… VEXED by your recent choices, brother. Instead of using the opportunity handed to you on a silver platter and taking that title, you waste time on a personal vendetta with the Rich family from two years ago, and doom your OWN chances at that belt for… WHAT, exactly? Your pride?”

Alex actually gives a low growl.

“I am the East Wind of Adversity, sister. My losses and victories must be untainte-”

“You’re beginning to annoy Her too. Alex.”

Button mouths, “SISTA?”

Alex Reyn falls dead silent.

“Pride? Honor? You sound like one of the mortals.I wonder if you’ve been in that body too long, O’ SPIRIT OF CONFLICT.”

Her words drip with sarcasm as she repeats his title back to him.

“Remember, brother. The only thing you “must” do. The ONLY thing Adversity NEEDS to do is test the mortals before we remake their world. THAT is your purpose. Not to safeguard your own wounded pride at the EXPENSE of your duties.”

She’s looking at him hard in the eyes as she continues.

“Do you have ANY idea how many strings I’ve had to pull to keep the humans off your back? You no longer have the veil of relative anonymity to protect you. This is not a small league where your actions could fly under the radar. GLOBAL is run by the human elite.”

Alex scoffs.

“Scoff all you like, brother. But you’d be a fool to ignore the power they have. Their resources in many ways rival our own and if they decide to call in a full manhunt on you… Even YOU cannot defeat an army. If we are to remake the world once again, we NEED to bring the elite to their knees and that requires gaining their resources. For that, I need you in a position of influence. We NEED to make you their champion Alex. No more of these self-destructive games.”

There is a long pause before Alex Reyn inclines his head.

“I… apologize for disrupting your plans and…”

He hesitates for a second like a man avoiding an uncomfortable subject.


There’s a moment of almost reverent silence from both before he continues.

“That said, my code serves a purpose beyond my pride. If I am to test them. If I am to truly fulfill my role as spirit of Conflict, I must be a TRUE warrior. How can I expect to bring them to a higher level of valor if I myself am tainted by cowardice? How can I promote the strong without exterminating the weak? And how can I TRULY test their courage and tenacity, if they don’t fear for their lives when facing-”

The Lady holds up a hand and her brother stops speaking.

“I know all of this, brother. I’m not telling you to stop your ways outright. I am telling you you need to be CAREFUL. You’ve become more and more reckless these last few years. More arrogant. You need to remember to pick your moments. If you had just WAITED for the right moment to go after the Riches once you were champion, I could have pulled strings, froze their assets like I did Mr. Price. The elite doesn’t care when those poorer than them come to harm, but Frank had status, power in the industry. You attacking him makes the elites feel unsafe. You haven’t stirred up the hive yet, but you DID agitate it. You need to be careful not to provoke a swarm.”

She takes a long sigh.

“So far, the situation isn’t unsalvageable. The Rich family is going to try to send Law Enforcement after you, but my resources in that area, and our reputation, should close off that avenue to them. That only leaves attacking you in the ring as an option. I take it you’re NOT going to finish them off before they become a threat?”

“No. I gave my word that I would not harm them.”

“And I don’t suppose I could persuade you to break your word?”


“You and that code of yours. Very well. I’ll just have to pluck some threads to keep them distracted. Good luck in the tournament, brother. I have some things to arrange.”

Leaning forward, Button’s eyes widen.  “Blimey, Tobias, what’s all this abaht? ‘Oo’s that talkin’ to Reyn? ‘Is sista?  And ‘ow is all this connected to GLOBAL?  Fackin’ ell, this is some seriously ‘eavy stuff, man.”

Tobias hesitates for a moment, the weight of the revelation evident in his demeanor. With a sigh, he meets Alfie’s gaze, steeling himself for the forthcoming discussion.]

“That, my friend, is a voice I’ve been trying to track down for weeks. And it might just be the breakthrough we need to uncover the truth behind Jerry Watkins and GLOBAL.”

Alfie’s eyes widen once again in realization as the gravity of the situation dawns on him. The room falls silent, save for the steady rhythm of the recording playing in the background, as the two men contemplate the implications of what they’ve just heard.

Alfie Button nods solemnly.

“What do ya need me for?”

Tobias returns Alfie’s nod with a steely look of his own, his belief in the power of truth unwavering. With newfound resolve, the two unlikely allies prepare to embark on a journey that will test their mettle and resolve in the pursuit of justice.

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“The following singles match is set for one fall!” Brown shouts. “Introducing first… from Beijing, China, weighing in at 221 pounds, accompanied by The Great Wall. Representing The Xiang Dynasty… this… is… XIANG!”

“War Dance” by Shen Yi.

“I am NOT looking forward to this one.” Allie grumbles, prompting a quizzical look from her cohosts.

“Look, go back a year, and I’d have loved to see a rising star like Valorie test herself against someone with Xiang’s skills, but now…? Valorie’s attitude is despicable, Xiang is as awful as ever. Exactly WHO am I supposed to support in this?”

Quinn shrugs. “It’s our job. Tonight, we put our feelings aside and focus on the action.”

“Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums” by A Perfect Circle plays, and the no-nonsense Valorie Vitality, sporting a blue-themed camo t-shirt tied at the waist to show a little bit of her stomach, tight yet comfortable black shorts, black combat boots, the dog tags of her deceased father, black fingerless gloves, and a red and blue sweat-band around her upper arm with the Marine’s symbol accompany her on her way to do battle with Xiang.

No fanfare. No wasted time. Let the bell ring.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Valorie attempts a roundhouse, going for her finish early but Xiang ducks and parries her followup spin kick! Sweeping her legs and going for a pin only for vow to kip-up before he can pin her!

She rolls to face him, penalty ki- No! He catches her leg, rolling her into a half crab, but she grabs the rope, twisting herself around onto her back, using both legs to shove him into the ropes! Xiang rebounds into a KIP-UP BIG BOOT!!

“Valorie taking control after a hot start.” Quinn calls as Xiang tries to powder. Valorie rolls after him, but The Wall imposes himself in between them.

“And that may be the equalizer.” Mark notes.

Valorie tries to slip past the wall to get at Xiang, but at every turn, The Wall moves to block her path. Taking a different approach, she leaps onto the apron, springboards off the ropes and KICKFLIPS OFF THE WALL’S SHOULDERS INTO A DRAGONRANA THAT THROWS XIANG INTO THE BARRICADE!!

“WOW!!” Is all the announcers can say as Valorie grabs the stunned Xiang and tosses his ass back into the ring to the sound of the famous “Holy Shit!” chant!




“The Rana’s impressive, but better used as a setup or momentum changer than a match ender.” Quinn explains for the audience.

“Plus, those few extra seconds getting him back in the ring probably gave him time to shake off a few cobwebs.” The Mark adds.

“She’s adapting well though” Allie rounds it off as Valorie grabs Xiang’s legs. Looking to turn him over into the Last Hoorah (STF Camel Clutch), but before she can turn him over, the wily technician suddenly grabs her in a small package!

ONE-! Valorie kick out, but Xiang maintains the facelock, rolling to his feet, looking for the Sun Tzu Snap DDT, but Valorie trips him up into a lateral press! ON-! Xiang slips out! Valorie with a  rolling kip up! Charging in for another big boot! Xiang drops low to take her knee out with a chopblock, but Valorie evades with a hand spri-


“What innovation!” Quinn calls as the fans wince from that impact.

“From WHO??” The Mark asks.

“Yes!” Is Allie’s response.

With Valorie dazed, Xiang adds insult to injury with a stomp to the back of her neck, driving her already bloody nose into the mat with violent force! Grapevining her arm’s he grinds his hands against her possibly broken nose as he wrenches her neck back in a crossface submission!

“Xiang taking advantage of any opening.”

Val grits her teeth  behind Xiang’s clasped hands. Crawling, trying to drag Xiang’s bodyweight along the mat as she reaches towards the ropes!

“Oh, come on!” Allie yells as The Wall climbs onto the apron, distracting the referee so he can’t see Valorie even if she DOES reach for the ropes!

…Which means he ALSO doesn’t see Valorie BITING XIANG’S HAND!!

Allie laughs. Xiang yelps in pain, and Valorie rolls him over into an MMA style mount! Hammering down blows until he catches her in a triangle cho- No! Allie rolls him up into a bridging jacknife pin!

ON-! Xiang counters into an Armbar, put Valorie gets her foot under the ropes! Not waiting for Xiang to break the hold, she uses the leverage from the ropes to aid her escape.

Xiang is up before her though, Basement Dropki- Valorie avoids! She counters with a rolling reverse sunset pin!

On-! Xiang bridges out! Spins her into a front-facelock! Suple- Valorie lands behind him! Going for a waistlock, but Xiang dives into the ropes throwing her overhead, only for Valorie to do a handstand on the top rope like it’s a vaulting horse before twisting to catch Xiang in a hurricanrana!

Xiang is sent sprawling, Valorie stays on him! TORNADO ENZUIGIRI!

“I can barely keep up! Counter after counter!” Quinn calls.

Xiang is stunned, dizzy. He goes to powder again, but Valorie grabs his ankle, dragging him to the centre, but leaving herschel open to be violently kicked in the knee by his other boot! It’s all the opening  he needs as he grapevines her leg and brings her down with a rolling kneebar!

“Xiang back in control!” Mark calls.

He put her right near the ropes in doing that though and drags her ba- Only for Val to use that opening to counter the hold into the Last Hoorah!

“And Valorie takes it back!” Allie calls, but Valorie has barely got the chinlock applied when Xiang elbows her in her still bleeding nose, grabs her in a headlock, and turns her finisher into an Anaconda Vi-

No! Valorie counters with a grounded headscissors lock, only for Xiang to grab her leg and try to get her into a half cra-

Small package from Val!

On-! Xiang kicks out, but Valorie still has the facelock!  Suple-No! Xiang lands behind her! He dodges a back elbow and  catches her attempt at a Spinning Back Kick! Going for a Back Suple-! Valorie flips out!

Poisoned Ran-o! Xiang throws her forward for an Electric Chair Stun Gun, but Val grabs the top ropes and throws Xiang over with a headscissors takedown!

The fans are applauding as the two fight on the apron! Valorie fires off a round house that Xiang blocks! Xiang retaliates with a thrust kick that Valories paries! The two capture each other’s attempts at straight rights into a C&E tie up on the ring apron!

“They’re jockeying for position right in front of us!” Quinn calls!

Blocked from the ref’s view by the two warring wrestlers, The Wall grabs Valorie’s ankle, suddenly yanking her off the apron!

…But Valorie leaps onto and is now standing balanced on The Wall’s shoulders!

The commentary’s shock is echoed by the fans! Xiang springs off the ropes, going for a  twisting suicide Bloody Sunset (Diving Codebreaker), but Valorie dives back into the ring from The Wall’s shoulders,  forcing The Wall to catch his manager! Valorie hits the ropes, looking for a Sasuke Spec-

Xiang rams himself into the ropes! Tripping Valorie up and tangling her “Tree-of-Woe” style in the ropes!

Superkick to the upside down Valorie! BRAINBUSTER ON THE APRON!!

“And that devastating sequence might just have secured Xiang the victory.” Quinn says as Valorie drops to the floor like a stone while Xiang slides in the ring.


Valorie is blinking to try to shake off the cob webs.

She stumbles to her feet. She actually has to use the table for support for a second.

“The fans may not exactly have a favourite in this match, but I don’t think anyone wants to see this end on a count-out.” Allie says.

“Except Xiang.” Deltzer responds.

She tries to dive into the ring… but The Wall blocks her way!

The fans immediately start booing! The referee yells at the wall, but…

“He hasn’t put his hands on her. It’s technically not illegal.” The Mark says.



The fans cheer, and Xiang protests even as the screen is cracked across The Wall’s face!

“She didn’t use that weapon against her opponent. It’s technically not illegal.” Allie says.

The referee seems to agree, despite Xiang’s objections as Valorie dives into the ring before the ten count!

But Xiang is on the top rope! Bloody Sunse-No! Valorie flips forward so that she takes a far less damaging Monkey Flip instead, landing on her feet!

She hits the ropes! Crucifix Headscissor-No! Xiang blocks full impact! Capturing her in a dragon sleeper, but Valorie gets her foot on the middle, then top rope, countering the Dragon Sleeper with a Shiranui attempt that Xiang stops! Instead hooking both legs for a Belly-To-Belly Cradle Piledrive- Val counters with a Victory Roll!

ONE-!! Xiang rolls it back into a pin of his own! ONE!! Valorie reverses! ONE!! Back to Xiang! ONE!!





They both break free! Rolling to their feet! Xiang moves in for an attack!







Xiang is out! Valories falls into the cover!



“Here is your winner! Valorie! Vitality!”

“That was almost two quick to call!” Quinn says. “These two were near perfect equals. In the end, it came down to who made the first mistake. Who was just that second slower on the draw than his opponent. We may not like her new attitude. But congratulations, Valorie Vitality.”

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In the quieter confines of the locker room, champion Sean Darring finds Freddie Rich, his ally from the last Domination. The tension that had charged the air during the confrontation with the Prime Time Athletes is noticeably absent here. Darring, with a light-hearted grin, teases Freddie.

“Tell me your shoulder’s holding up better than Jimmy’s?”

Their laughter fills the room, a playful nod to Jimmy Classic’s earlier performance. Freddie, with a wry smile, quips back.

“Let’s just say, at this stage, a stiff breeze could cause an injury.”

Their camaraderie shines through the laughter, a bond forged not just in battle but in mutual respect and the shared aches that come with their profession. Darring, more seriously now, extends his gratitude.

“You know, limping in here reminded me to thank you. Standing by me against those schemers meant the world. It’s more than just Texan pride; it’s about honor. And you, my friend, are the epitome of both.”

As they shake hands, Freddie Rich acknowledges the sentiment and reflects on their recent match.

“It’s a pity things didn’t swing our way. But tangling with those two is like wrestling a whirlwind. Eyes open every second, or you’re on the mat before you know it. They’ll bend every rule to snap victory from the jaws of defeat. Here’s hoping we get another shot at them.”

The Legend affirms with a meaningful nod, “That’s exactly what I’m hoping for. It looks like Jimmy Classic, and I will clash at the next Domination, but you’ve rightfully earned the subsequent title opportunity. After I dispatch Classic and quash their antics, it’s your distinguished honor, storied legacy, and unparalleled Texan grit that mark you as the rightful contender for this championship. Sharing the ring with a fellow icon would be a pinnacle moment for me.”

The esteemed colleague, absorbing the champion’s commendation, nods appreciatively, his response tinged with anticipation, “Sounds like a plan I can get behind. Count me in for that.”

As the camera begins to fade, the two icons delve into tales and reminiscences only wrestling warriors of their caliber could share.

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The initial strains of the British military march ‘Rule Britannia’ bring the usual mixed reaction from the crowd in attendance at The Globe, directed squarely at the two frowning men and smiling woman currently crossing the entrance curtain. As ever, while the male constituents of the trio appear a little put off by the reaction, their manager seems to take it in stride, flashing her dazzlingly white teeth at the crowd in a broad smile.

“I guess it’s that time of the evening again…The Best of British are likely about to issue an open challenge…or should I say, call out a specific team in the GLOBAL locker room?”

“Yes, you can’t really call them ‘open’ challenges when they have a specific opponent already in mind, can you?”

“Not really, no, Allie. You’re right. The question now is…considering the depth of our tag team roster…and bearing in mind which teams Rupert and Nigel have already faced…”

“…which is to say, all of the easier ones…”

“…who do you think is on the cards for tonight?”

“I’m not sure about them, Lucas, but if it was me? I’d call out the Champions.”

Mark Deltzer’s statement brings an uncontrolled chortle of laughter from his female counterpart. 

“These guys want to keep on winning, Mark…not get embarrassed…”

“For my money…” Ever the conciliator, Lucas quickly chimes in once again. “…they will be going a step beyond. They’ll be feeling themselves right now, being on a winning streak…regardless of the circumstances, Allison!…and will probably want to up the ante slightly. I’m banking on someone like the Rich Family, Border Control, Crusader X and Alfie Button…maybe even the Prime Time Athletes.”

“Is there anybody else, Lucas?” Uncharacteristically, Reece lays on the sarcasm towards her senior colleague, who, to his credit, brushes it off.

“Not unless they want a rematch with anybody…”

“…and why would they?”

“Hey, guys?” It is Deltzer’s turn to intervene. “If you guys wanna stop talking, I think we’re about to find out who it is.”

Indeed, while the three announcers have been speculating, Kerry Buckingham and her two charges have made their way to the center of the ring, where they now stand, looking up at the still divided crowd. No more than a moment elapses this way before the team’s manager brings a microphone to her lips for her usual address.

“I am sure you know who we are, and why we are here, so I shall spare you the details.”

A mostly positive reaction, laced with relief, greets these words, encouraging the short, blonde woman to continue.

“Now…over the past few weeks, these two fine gentlemen behind me have shown their support for any number of causes and moral values…” The mixed element of the crowd reaction once again intensifies at this, forcing Kerry to raise her voice ever so slightly. “This week will be no different, as the lads will be focusing on one of the most important of all societal elements: family.

Excitement levels in the crowd increase as they begin to predict what is about to happen.

“I told you!” Lucas Quinn sounds just as excited as the crowd. “Just watch…!”

The veteran announcer then turns his attention back to Kerry, who has resumed her spiel.

“Naturally, when it comes to family, there is only really one team to reach out to. I mean, it is even in their name…

An excited reaction once again begins to arise from the stands, which erupts as Kerry makes her announcement official.

“…so, if any of the gentlemen in the Rich Family wish to collaborate with these chaps, now is your chance!”

Kerry opens her arms wide as the entire Globe erupts around her, anticipating a match involving GLOBAL’s fan-favorite First Family.

“WHAT A MATCH we have in prospect here!!” Lucas continues to gush like a young child, even as Allie Reece expresses skepticism.

“You think they’ll accept, though?”

“I don’t know!” A smiling Lucas is almost giddy with excitement. “We’ll just have to wait and see…”

Then, he once again lapses into silence, as, along with the rest of the crowd, he waits with bated breath to see if the Brits’ challenge will be answered.

A cheer goes up as Freddie walks out first, having been left to go out first.  He looks back at the mischievous Donny, and Declan gives him a sheepish smile, “You knew they’d accept, didn’t you?” Allie puts to Mark.

“Never in doubt, but what I can reveal is Todd twisted his ankle, and isn’t here tonight.  Sadly, judging by Donny being in his gear, Freddie has opted to play the role of cheerleader tonight, and that has got me very worried, indeed.”

Indeed, Freddie is wearing his leather jacket, but orange tights are out with ripped denim jeans in fashion.  Donny is wearing awful yellow shorts, which don’t suit him at all, while Declan sports blue and white trunks that, as always, compliment him.

“Downtown” Jason Brown is also out, Marcus Anthony Newman welcoming the duo of Donny and Declan out for their main event opportunity, something Freddie enjoyed upon returning at the previous Domination alongside Sean Darring after a year-long absence, which coincidentally, was also in the showcase at Domination 6.

“They were involved in the first-ever match in GLOBAL history together, The Rich Family challenged again on an action-packed Domination Three, losing to The Master Sisters and now, The Best of British meets The Rich Family, the pride of Texas in a snakes-and-ladders tag team match that will propel the winners into contention, and see the losers potentially fall off the face of the tag team map altogether,” Lucas pains the picture.

Donny rolls underneath the bottom rope while Declan ducks underneath the ropes, setting a spate of fireworks off in the process.

“Hopefully, the action lives up to that,” Allie drops in.



“The UK versus the USA, one posh, the other rich and Rupert and Nigel versus Declan and Donny,” The Mark muses.

As Rupert Royston-Fellowes and Declan Rich step forward into the middle of the ring, an increasingly familiar presence takes her place at the announce table.

“Hello, darlings! How are we all?”

“Hello, Kerry. We are… ready to go here, and the implications for both teams could be big, enormous in fact,” Quinn narrates.

“No doubt,” Deltzer affirms.

“I see what you’ve done there, Lukey, you clever boy, you!”

Lukey?” Deltzer’s tone indicates his partner will not hear the last of this for a while yet, but Kerry sinply shrugs.

“Yes. Like you are Marky…”

As Deltzer is somewhat cowed into silence, Rupert chances his arm with a knee strike which Declan casually sidesteps.

“Shades of Masvidal and Askren there,” Mark insinuates.

“What do you know about MMA?” Allie mocks.

“I thought your comeback would be about Dakota Johnson.”

“I am ever so lost just now, darlings…who are all these people? Are they famous?”

A tie-up ensues as Kerry continues to express her puzzlement, and Declan grabs a hammerlock, but Rupert rapidly reverses it before changing tact and applying a side headlock.

“Two smooth operators in there,” The Mark tells the audience watching at home.

“Oh, yes. Quite. Rupie has such a way with the ladies! They both do, actually.”

“That’s not…you know what, never mind.”

As Lucas mercy-kills that particular exchange, Declan pushes Rupert back to the right-hand set of ropes, but Rupert is rabid and won’t let go. Instead, he drags Declan down onto the mat.  Declan is soon back up to a vertical base and tries to lift Royston-Fellowes up, which is in vain as the Englishman uses his might to come back down to the ground, headlock intact, and then he takes Dec over and down with a side headlock takedown.  However, no sooner has that happened when Declan negotiates a headscissors, which Rupert masterfully escapes courtesy of a kip-up. 

“Great work by both men, especially Rupert,” Quinn calls.

“Yes, Rupie is excellent on top and on his back.”

“I bet you know everything about that…” Allie’s sarcasm, tightly contained up until now, finally comes out in full force.

However, it’s as if the voice of GLOBAL has briefly cast a spell on the BoB member, as Declan kicks him in the abdomen and yes, you’ve guessed it, emerges triumphant, at least momentarily, in their game of one-upmanship with a side headlock takedown of his own.

“You reap what you sow…or should that be rupe?” The Mark actually asks.  Allie and Kerry share a rare moment of kinship as they both tut in response.

Royston-Fellowes won’t lie down, neither of them will it seems, sticking it to Declan with a few well-placed shots to the kidney that are borderline illegal, but you can’t call what you can’t see, right?  We need VAR…or do we?

Driving Declan back into the bottom right-hand corner, a neutral one, Rupert releases on the referee’s command, and then wallops Declan with a heck of a knife-edge chop that echoes around The Globe…

…As does the next one when Declan swivels him around, and refunds Royston-Fellowes, and that will also leave a mark.

“Evenly-matched so far, and Rupert and Declan are playing a slow-but-sure version of anything you can do, I can do it better,” Quinn believes.

“Rupie can do everything better. Wait and see.”

Kerry’s belief in her client appears misguided directly thereafter, however, as Declan mounts Royston-Fellowes in the corner, firing off four shots, which the crowd eagerly counts along to, until Rupert pushes him off.  Full of beans, Declan is back and scores with a running kick to the abdomen before taking Rupert up and over, yet again, though this time with a sound monkey flip.

Notwithstanding, and Rupert is, believe it or not, the Englishman mows Declan down with a clothesline, which Kerry takes as the prompt for an apology.

“I would like to state, for the record, that I did state the wrong name for that move a fortnight ago. It is not a clothespeg, but a clothespin.”

A groan issues from somewhere along the table, which Quinn expertly covers for by continuing to call the action.

“Brilliant work by Rupert there, and now we’ll see Nigel.”

Nigel Kensington III, bigger and stronger physically, at least, asserts his authority immediately with a big BIEL THROW on Declan.

“Very impressive strength by Mr. Kensington there,” Lucas throws in.

“Yes, Nigey may be leaner than Rupie, but he can still throw you about…”

“Again…I bet you know everything about that…”

“Looking to follow up with a running European uppercut, which Rich avoids, and here’s the backslide in the center of the ring,” Quinn animatedly follows the action, as Kerry willfully ignores the other woman at the table.



When they return to their feet, Nigel is a tad quicker and NAILS Declan with the European uppercut this time.

“He TAGGED Declan there, and speaking of which, I believe that first tag was important, but it was always going to go to Best of British, because why would Declan bring Donny in?  This is a handicap match, guys,” Deltzer declares.

“Don’t start with that, Mark,” Allie exhaustedly replies.

“But it’s true,” The Mark protests.

“I know it is, we just don’t need to hear it throughout the entire match AFTER LAST TIME,” Reece insists.

Nigel plonks Declan on the top rope, though Declan fights back with a headbutt, and then stands up…

…Nevertheless, in the time, it has taken him to decide he’s going to launch himself at Kensington, the most powerful participant has speedily returned to launch Declan in a way he isn’t expecting…

ARMDRAG from the top rope.

“Amazing presence of mind, speed, power and a whole bunch of other things on the part of Nigel Kensington,” Quinn waxes.

“Yes, he is rather amazing, isn’t he?”

As Kerry gushes over him, Kensington drops down for a cover.






Nigel is frustrated – and Kerry, livid, though trying valiantly to hide it.

“Was that count a tad slow? Or was it just me?”

“It was just you, ‘dah-ling’.” No prizes for guessing who that is.

Rather than get mad, or get even, why not get ahead?  Nigel is fresher, fitter and stronger than Declan, so why not focus on that?  A powerslam is what he has in mind, and he lifts Rich up easily.  Freddie is vocal on the outside, encouraging his younger brother, and it seems to work as Declan slips out and scores with a bridging Northern Lights suplex!





“Serves him right! He had no right to steal Nigey’s move like that!”

“It’s…not even his signature…” Allie cannot suppress a groan at the guest announcer’s antics.

In the ring, both men are back up, surprise surprise, and Nigel is punished after a wild swing and a miss, Declan softening up his ribs this time and then laying him out with a big-time brainbuster!  Cue a double down.

“He did NOT have to hit him that hard! Should that not have been a yellow card?”

Evidently (and fortunately) no one understands that comment, the resident trio simply continuing to call the action.

“Declan needed that, The Rich Family needed that, the crowd needed that, but do we really need to see Donny?” You know who that is.


Snider’s count starts.  He really is the man for the job, though in fairness, neither team has given him much bother up to this point.  That could soon change.


“Donny looks ready, Mark,” Lucas stirs.


“He’s as ready as I am to get in there,” Deltzer scoffs.


“We should arrange that for Magnum Opus Two, our season finale,” Allie suggests, also plugging the grandest outing of our calendar in the process while, on the opposite side of her, a certain British blonde is getting a little nervous.

“Come on, Nigey…get up…”


“Declan turns to make the ascent towards Donny, who holds out a hand, eager to get in there,” Quinn says.

“Who are you kidding, Lucas?  That’s half-hearted.  Trust me, no one, not even Donny himself, wants in there,” Deltzer promises.

Lo and behold, Nigel is up, and despite cries from the crowd, he cuts Declan off halfway with a back rake, which does get a warning from Snider and boos from the 2,500 on hand for another episode of Domination.  Naturally, Nigel protests his innocence.

“That’s right, Nigey! You tell him! That vile man…chastising him for absolutely nothing!”

A smug grin appears on his face as Snider turns his attentions to Declan. 

“Kensington knows fine well what he has just got away with, though he would be advised to do it a bit more subtly next time, as Snider won’t put up with that, compared to other officials,” Allie informs us.

What he did? Whatever do you mean? Surely, yiu are not referring to the little pat of encouragement he gave that other chap…?” Kerry sounds genuinely incredulous. “Is that what all the commotion was about?!”

Nigel is looking for something impactful, along the lines of the powerslam attempt earlier, and looks set to unearth a pump handle—hip toss counter by Declan, and then Rich hits the ropes…

BULLD—OW! WOW! Nigel slams on the brakes and shoves Declan off, so he takes a front turnbuckle right in front of Rupert, who winces. Kerry cackles.  No one else finds the humor in Declan’s plight, save for the foreign trio.

“Serves him right, that brute!” Again, no prizes.

Nigel comes to pick the bones of Declan’s carcass, it’s a figure of speech, and plants the middle child of The Rich Family with a belly-to-back suplex.  Kensington instinctively and hopefully hooks the leg…






“Nigel is looking a bit frustrated there.  He genuinely believed he had that wrapped up,” Quinn takes away from that, watching Kensington question the count, hands on his knees, as he gets up, plotting his next move to bring about Declan’s downfall.

“Yes, because that man of yours keeps counting slower than he should!”

Instead, he brings his teammate, Rupert Royston-Fellowes, back in for a change of style.  Both have fared well against Declan, isolating him, though Kerry reckons they’d love to get their hands on Donny.

“Isn’t the little one allowed in? He should be able to join the fun, as well! I know the boys would be glad of it…”

“I bet they would…” Allie Reece does not miss her chance to keep the verbal catfight going.

Meanwhile, in the ring, a backbreaker by Rupert is perfectly-placed, and in the dead centre of the ring, a lazy cover…



“That did not count. Rupie was just having his bit of fun. He never intended to finish it.”

Royston-Fellowes measures Declan with an elbow drop to the face, and again, goes for the cover, and it produces the same result.

“Are Best of British getting complacent here, Kerry?” Allie asks.

“Like I said, darling. They are just having a bit of fun. They will get serious again when they have to.”

A well-rested Rupert isn’t putting his back into this, it seems.  Does he know they have Declan right where they want him?  Is it all a ruse to get Donny into the ring?  Tune in next week to find out.

No, you don’t.  It just sounded that way in my head.  We’ll get a decision, one way or another.

Rupert brings Declan up and measures him with a rebound clo—OH NO!  OH YES!  STO COUNTER BY DECLAN, giving The Rich Family some hope. 

“That’s what having too much fun will get you…”

Freddie punches the air, and turns to motivate the crowd, who feed off his gesture and hope to spur on a tired Declan.  Whether he likes it or not, he needs to tag Donny.

Snider starts again.


“How is that little one ever expected to get better if his brothers won’t let him earn any ring experience?” Kerry wonders.


“I actually agree with that,” Allie says while folding her arms.


“Kerry, I get, but do you want The Rich Family to get beat, Allie?”


“No, I don’t, but it’s going that way anyway, and Declan has done the work of two men in there.”


Picking up where she left off, Allie continues, “Freddie is coming back from a long-term layoff, do you want to see the same happen to Declan?”


“Of course not,” The Mark sheepishly responds.


“Right back at you, partner,” Allie rounds off.

Declan and Rupert are up…

“Oh no!”

That’s Allie’s visceral reaction to Declan being, er, decked by a fantastic roaring elbow by Rupert…

…or it would have been, at least, had Declan not caught the elbow, Crusader X style, using Rupert’s momentum against him and converting the con into a pro with an arm wringer.  On the other hand, no pun intended, Rupert thinks on his feet, grabbing Declan by the nose and leading him back to the neutral corner, again in the bottom right-hand corner.  Declan, however, turns Rupert around again before preparing for take off with a HUGE hip toss out of the corner.

“Do you think they might get serious now, Kerry?”

“Well, of course, darling. As I told you just now, they know how to do that when they need to.”

When Rupert gets up, Declan runs through him with a lariat, he is from Texas after all, and on this occasion, Rich is on the front foot, proactively dragging RRF up and trying to squeeze in as much as he can without having to tag Donny out.  Essentially, yes, Mark…

“Declan is trying to win this thing on his own, and we all know why,” The Mark reminds us.  Thanks for that.

“Is that wise, though, do you think, Marky?”

Irish whip…

FIRST CLASS STAMP!  Big Brother, Freddie, looks shocked at having one of his signatures, the sick kick, ripped from his playbook.  Well, he needn’t worry because it MISSES…

A sneaky roll-up by Rupert, complete with a handful of tights…



“Rupie…time to get serious, darling…” At the announce table, Kerry no longer sounds quite as sure of herself or her charges.

As both men climb to their feet for the umpteenth time, having led each other a merry dance, Declan has got one of his own signatures in mind…


The Rich Family wants Declan to tag Donny.  He gets up, contemplating it and despite being urged to do the right thing by Donny and, surprisingly Freddie, he has second thoughts and opts not to.

“That’s a mistake,” Allie declares.

“Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t,” Deltzer offers in return.

“I call that being selfish. Wanting to have all the fun himself, without thinking of his little brother…”

Instead, Declan goes up, from the bottom left-hand corner, the other neutral station, and prepares himself, taking his second risk in the matter of seconds…



“Declan Rich has just crashed and burned, and could that prove crucial in this all-important match for both teams?”

“Well, he should have known better, shouldn’t he? Serves him right for being selfish!”

Freddie turns away, hands on hips, and curses to himself instinctively.


“I told you, Mark,” Allie points the finger.


“Told me what, huh?”


“I told you that he should have tagged Donny,” Reece shakes her head.

“I concur, Marky.”


“The match would be over now if he had,” Deltzer barks back.


Pointing at the squared circle, “It is anyway,” Reece predicts.


Rupert is moving.  Declan isn’t. However, Rupert goes for Nigel.  Oh wait, Declan is, and he is homeward-bound.


Nigel is in.

With one last ounce of effort, Declan leaps and tags the baby of the family, Donny, in.

“Rupie is back in, and that young man has finally done the right thing by his brother!”

“HEEEERE’S DOOOOOOOONNNNNNY!” Lucas smiles to himself, only for Allie, The Mark and Kerry all to glare at him in disgust.

“I’ve always wanted to say that line on TV, what can I say?” he half-apologizes.

Nigel beats Donny to the punch, or should that be the kick?  SUPERKICK!

“ETIQUETTE LESSON for that young chap. Free of charge, of course…”

Nigel urges Rupert back in for some double-teaming, stomping the shit out of Donny with THE DOWNTRODDING!  Freddie and Declan are going at it verbally, not paying any attention to Donny’s struggles in the squared circle.  Meanwhile, The Mark gloats.

“I told you all this would happen,” he laments.

Nigel tags Rupert back in…

“Watch this, now, darlings…this should be fun!”

He puts Donny’s head between his legs, nothing sinister…wait, it is!


Rupert’s pedigree KNOCKS DONNY THE FUCK OUT!

It’s only when that lands, do Freddie and Declan tear themselves away from arguing and worry about their little brother.  Nigel knocks Declan off the top rope sooner than you can this is over, while Rupert confirms that notion by hooking the leg.

“You could count to three thousand,” The Mark boldly claims.

Thankfully, Snider doesn’t.




No sooner is the count made than Kerry is on her feet and cheering, nearly drowning out the announcers.

“The Best of British prove to be the best team on the night, by a country mile, and deserve to defeat The Rich Family.  Where does the beloved faction from Dallas, Texas go from here?”

“Good question, Quinn.  It’s a shame Freddie didn’t compete, but I get why, and Todd got injured just a few days ago, or this could have been a completely different story.  As soon as Donny walked the aisle, they were done for, and did he manage to get a single bit of offense in?  No.  He’s offensive to wrestling, I know that much, and you know exactly what I mean.  I TOLD YOU, ALLIE,” The Mark shouts, standing up.  Some ringside fans laugh and gasp as they see Allie stand up in protest.

“Sit back down Mark, before I do something we both regret.”

Quinn also stands up.

“Okay, children, behave yourself, especially with our guest here.  Kerry, well done,” Lucas graciously offers his congratulations.

“Thank you, Lukie. It was all much simpler once that man in the stripes began counting at regular speed. Now, if you darlings will excuse me, I have two dashing young men to congratulate. Cheerio!”

No comment issues forth from the announce table as Kerry stands up, removes her headset and re-enters the ring, mere feet from where, at ringside, Freddie walks away from Declan, who slams the gesture.

“Yeah, not like I haven’t seen that before.”

Declan watches on, before rolling back into the ring and glaring at Freddie, who doesn’t turn back, one last time.  Then, Donny has his brother’s full attention – a constant in their upbringing together.

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Last week.

Giovanni Ferrari, the tall, dark and handsome CEO of GLOBAL, is in his local Starbucks, sipping on his morning coffee.  The all-gray suit and green tie serves as a contrast to his immaculate olive skin.

He glances up at a familiar face and beckons for her to take a seat.

“Hi, Alicia.”

“Good morning sir.” Alicia says, taking the offered seat. “I trust you’re satisfied with Last Laugh’s outcome?”

“I feel terrible about Adam Hatt, but the greater good and all that.”

Alicia nods.

“Who and what’s next?”

For a second, Alicia stares pensively at her coffee.

“I have our next target in mind, but unlike Hatt, no immediate weakness is apparent. I’m going to need to do some further research. Once I do though, we’ll have our next angle of attack.

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